PS5 Playtime Push Square

Businesses nowadays consider engagement and interest in their product line to essentially be just as important as hard sales numbers, and Sony is no different. During yesterday's conference call with investors to mark the end of Fiscal Year 2023, the general manager of finance at Sony, Sadahiko Hayakawa, explained how the PlayStation business adjusted its focus during the PS4 era as a result of network services like PSN and games designed to be played in perpetuity.

Hayakawa said: "The business model up to and including the PlayStation 3 was focused on increasing the number of software units sold in relation to newly sold hardware for each console generation. After a transition period during the PS4 generation, the PS5 model has shifted to where playtime on platform has increased due to expansion of the user community beyond console generations. Due to this change in business model, during the PS4 generation, we were able to significantly grow profits in this segment, thanks to rapid digitalization and the expansion of network services."

While online multiplayer games were a standard during the PS3 generation, rarely did they offer more than a standard suite of modes, maps, and level unlocks. You could reach the maximum rank and see everything an online mode has to offer inside just a few days, then left to wait for the next map pack to arrive. However, once the PS4 rolled around, these experiences became considerably more in-depth, giving rise to the likes of Fortnite and Genshin Impact — games you could quite comfortably play daily and never have to touch anything else.

"In the PS5 generation, which has capitalized on the established user base, the trend is hard to see due to the impact of stay-at-home demand and acquisition-related expenses. But since the launch of the PS5, we have continued to achieve a high level of a more stable profit growth. As we enter the second half of the console cycle, we expect the number of new PS5 units sold to gradually decline," Hayakawa continued. "However, by steadily maintaining and expanding the consistently increased number of active users and user engagement while also strengthening control over business costs, we believe that we will be able to steadily increase sales and profits on the PS platform going forward."

Sony revealed that during March 2024, total playtime on PlayStation platforms increased by 15 per cent compared to the same month in 2023. "And for the entire fourth quarter of the FY '23, it reached the second highest level in history, second only to the fourth quarter of FY '20, which benefited from significant stay-at-home demand due to the pandemic." The comments also come as Sony confirms a 10 million increase in monthly active users on PSN year-on-year.

Despite a couple of stumbling blocks along the way, Sony is ready to deploy the sort of online titles people dedicate a significant amount of time to later this year. Helldivers 2 already arrived in February, and Concord is scheduled to launch in 2024. Have you noticed your PS5 playtime increase at all lately? Let us know in the comments below.

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